Honda’s UK factory, which builds Civic hatchbacks and CT-V SUVs, and is scheduled to add the Jazz (Fit) later this year, on Friday assembled its last cars before a four-month shutdown as its Japanese parent posted an 89.9% fall in third quarter net profit and halved its full year earning forecast.

Production will be suspended until 1 June though the 4,200 workers will receive full pay for the first two months, and 60% for the rest of the furlough.

Honda has insisted it intends to maintain its Swindon workforce until the Jazz model is due to go into production there later this year, though it has recently offered an ‘associate release programme’.

The shutdown came as the automaker reported net profit off almost 90% for its fiscal third quarter and cuts its annual earnings forecast by over 50%.

Nissan recently cut 1,200 jobs of 5,000 at its plant in Sunderland, northeast England, and Toyota‘s UK manufacturing unit said yesterday (29 January) it was considering both short-time working or suspending production completely at its two plants here, possibly adding to production cuts that began as long ago as last September.

Toyota is due to hold talks with UK workers – 3,900 at the Derbyshire car assembly plant and 600 at the Deeside engine assembly facility – in February and March and put its new plans into place from 1 April.

The Japanese automakers have steadily been reducing output at plants in Japan and key export markets, such as North America and Europe, and are also reviewing plans to expand or build new plants worldwide.

A Reuters Estimates poll of analysts earlier this week found that most expected Toyota, Nissan and Mazda to announce third quarter operating losses in the next week or so.

Toyota has previoulsy said it expects a full-year operating loss of JPY150bn but Japanese media reports today said this could now be as high as JPY400bn.